By Jesse Wood
May 7, 2014. Burnsville attorney Seth Banks won the GOP primary contest for District Attorney for the 24th Prosecutorial District decisively on Tuesday night with 48 percent of the vote in a three-person contest, according to unofficial election results. Because no Democratic challenger exists and Banks won more than 40 percent of the vote, the GOP primary effectively called the race. County results are unofficial until the May 13 canvass.
Across the 24th Prosecutorial District, which includes Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, Avery and Watauga counties, Banks received 6,284 votes compared to current assistant district attorney Britt Springer’s 4,321 votes (33 percent) and Boone attorney and chair of the Watauga County Board of Commissioners Nathan Miller’s 2,494 votes (19 percent).
Banks received 17 percent of the Watauga County vote, which was interesting to note because both Springer and Miller are based in Watauga. Below are the Watauga County results:
- Miller: 1,708 @ 46 percent
- Springer: 1,404 @ 38 percent
- Banks: 618 @ 17 percent
While Miller fared well in Watauga, his native county is where the majority of his votes came from. In Avery County, for example, Miller received only 9 percent of the vote, while Springer took 48 percent and Banks banked 43 percent.
Before the election, A Watauga Conservative, a local partisan blog, wondered if votes split between Miller and Springer locally would benefit Banks. Perhaps the back-and-forth between Miller and Springer during the past several weeks did turn off local voters.
Days before an April candidate forum featuring the DA prospects, the moderator for A Watauga Conservative blog had to put a stop to the anonymous “Britt bashing.” A week or so later, Springer posted on Facebook: “It’s a sure sign of desperation when you have to spend your money on bashing another candidate instead of talking about your qualifications…”
As one person commented on the blog, “I voted for Seth Banks. He’s the only candidate that isn’t entangled in a bunch of Watauga County lunacy.”
With Banks taking home more than 40 percent of the overall vote, no runoff between the top two candidates will take place.
On his campaign Facebook page, Miller wrote: “Yesterday’s election results were not what I had hoped or expected. I am very happy that I won Watauga County. Thanks to all my family and friends for all their financial support, hard work, kind words and prayers. I want to congratulate Seth Banks on well run campaign and I have no doubt he will make a fine DA.”
Banks released a statement as well: “We are so grateful to all of you for your incredible support throughout this campaign. We could not have done this without you and we sincerely appreciate your encouragement, hard work, and prayers!”
Seth Banks is a native of Yancey County. He earned his undergrad degree at N.C. State University and a law degree from Wake Forest University of Law School in 2007. Following law school, he worked as an assistant district attorney in the Triad area for nearly six years. Currently, Banks is a partner with the firm Bailey and Banks, PLLC, in Burnsville, where he resides with his wife Gretchen and their young son David.